Robert Gavrilovic of Rainfactory: “Coaching, training, and process are critical ”

Coaching, training, and process are critical — your team can own key delegation tasks, but without clearly defined goals and proper instruction/resources they will be set-up to fail. I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Gavrilovic, an experienced and highly creative online advertising and growth marketing professional. He is driven by discovering insights within data to produce successful, […]

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Coaching, training, and process are critical — your team can own key delegation tasks, but without clearly defined goals and proper instruction/resources they will be set-up to fail.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Robert Gavrilovic, an experienced and highly creative online advertising and growth marketing professional. He is driven by discovering insights within data to produce successful, measurable, integrated advertising communications. Robert is passionate about helping clients and companies develop successful marketing strategies, discover new advertising channels, and optimize their most effective and efficient campaigns. He specializes in Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Facebook Ads, and all things online advertising. Robert is currently the Director of Online Advertising at Rainfactory, a full-service digital agency that operates as a Marketing Department for growing brands.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I found my way into advertising a little unconventionally. My original academic pursuit was as an Athletic Training major within the Department of Kinesiology at my university. After a semester of study, and significant soul searching, I realized that a creative aspect that was central to my personal interests was missing from what likely would become my professional life. After a period of deliberation, uncertainty, and a whole lot of hand-wringing, I had an epiphany of sorts: advertising. The combination of commerce and creativity, left brain and right brain, intrigued me so much that I completed my B.S. in Advertising and began what would become my professional life as a marketer and advertiser. Luckily I have been able to weave my former curricular pursuit into my fitness and sports lifestyle, and I have not had any regrets about pursuing advertising. The fact is some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, from inspiring and wildly smart clients to talented and creative colleagues, have been in this industry.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

While I encountered challenges after graduation in getting a foot in the door, I never seriously considered giving up. My most significant early challenge was not accepting imperfect roles and culture fits, and instead continued to grind out applications and interviews in pursuit of opportunities I really wanted. Not all of those opportunities panned out, but some did and my career growth and professional development were better for it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of the funnier mistakes I made was while on a team Slack call when I shared a URL that I had mistakenly mistyped, and found myself instead sharing an “adult entertainment” website. Not my shining moment.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

For a relatively young company, we quickly carved out a reputation as one of the most effective crowdfunding agencies. The best example of this was one of our first clients, who we helped become one of the highest-grossing campaigns ever at that time on a major crowdfunding platform. This client, partly due to that success, later graced the cover of Time Magazine as one of the 25 Best Inventions of the Year. This demonstrates how a scrappy handful of individuals, within a relatively new space, quickly helped define that space as a viable marketing channel.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

First, find a role and company you love. If the role does not fit you and the company does not excite you, you will likely experience burn out hard and fast. However, burnout still happens. There are countless tips and tricks to mitigate burnout, but within the pressure-packed agency world, I’ve found one rule to live by: underpromise and overdeliver. Clients are demanding and we want to satisfy those demands, but often when a client asks for a deliverable we are quick to promise unrealistic delivery timelines. This not only compromises the quality of that deliverable, it also ratchets up an advertiser’s stress level. Instead, take a moment to consider the needed resources and time to complete that task before blurting out “tomorrow”, or tell the client you will need to confer with your team and provide an expected delivery date to them later. Clients seldom need things as fast as you imagine, they just need them done well.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Raindactory’s co-founder and CEO, Janielle Denier, was incredibly influential in my success. She helped build my analytical chops, while teaching me critical leadership and team-building skills. Most importantly, she forced me to question my assumptions and put my theories to the test. Her favorite motto, which I have taken to heart, is “decisions are data”. This means the only proof is data.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?

A leader needs to identify what really moves the needle in achieving company goals. Anything that does not make that list needs to be delegated, you can then focus your attention and energy on those high-value areas.

Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

Delegating is a challenge as it forces leaders to contend with the loss of control and self-evaluation. Both are often anathema to leaders. Releasing control makes leaders feel uncertain about quality control. Leaders are just human, and humans are not good at everything, and that is a hard pill to swallow. But leaders need to be able to self-evaluate and identify those areas.

In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?

You first need to change your perspective, often leaders tell themselves it will be quicker if they just did it themselves. That may be true, but it is short-sighted. I advise initially investing extra time to build a system of effective delegation, this will later pay dividends in time savings that you can then use to focus on key business outcomes.

Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Check your ego at the door — there are better people in your organization for certain things you currently own. Once you can accept this, then truly impactful delegation is possible.
  2. Identify what moves the needle — anything that does not make that list needs to be delegated.
  3. Spend the time now to reap rewards later — short term delegation planning ensures long term time savings that will prove invaluable.
  4. Coaching, training, and process are critical — your team can own key delegation tasks, but without clearly defined goals and proper instruction/resources they will be set-up to fail.
  5. Trust the process and your team — this circles back to the loss of control and quality control concerns. Once you’ve solidified the above four elements, you should be in a good position to release control and allow your team and the process to flourish.

One example that benefited me and my organization was the delegation of our Advertising team member applicant review, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding process. This is a critical initiative, where identifying the best candidates and ensuring the best onboarding experience is vital. It is also very time-consuming. I knew that this process could successfully be handed off with training and support, to our senior advertising account manager. This also allowed him to gain greater responsibilities and the opportunity to develop leadership skills with reports of his own. A win-win for all.

One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft-quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?

That may be true for some things, but not for everything a leader manages. There are likely individuals on your team that can immediately take over, or be trained to take over less critical tasks. If that person does not exist, hire them. A leader should be laser-focused on growing their business, not their task list.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think the best way to affect change is to encourage, educate, and inspire those around you to affect change. On a professional level as an example, Rainfactory has done pro-bono work for the incredible non-profit organization, Save the Children. During the COVID-19 crisis, many children were at even greater risk of food and education insecurity. We helped Save the Children develop and launch a successful crowdfunding campaign to assist with this critically needed effort. Rainfactory also launched a donation matching program to employees’ cause-based organizations of choice. I donated to the Equal Justice Initiative, which is an incredible organization led by Bryan Stevenson that works to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality.

How can our readers further follow you online?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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